If I asked you how summer vacation came about, would you be able to answer?  Most people believe that it was an issue of families needing their children to work on the farm.  This is a misconception.

Read on for a brief history.

During the early 1800’s, farmers needed their children predominantly during the fall harvest and spring planting so winter and summer were rural times of schooling.  Later on, as the country became more industrialized, school calendars gradually became lengthened and rearranged to eliminate schooling in the summer. This was influenced by the aristocratic elite, who wanted to flee the hot city summer for family vacations and a break from study.  In the early 1900’s, Urban Vacation Schools arose to “decongest and decriminalize crowded neighborhoods, assimilate immigrant children, and provide skills and a natural environment to urban children that lacked them.”  They were not academic, not public, and they prioritized enrichment and fun.  After the 1920’s, summer “schools” were used to take advanced classes or to remediate a loss of credit.

Today researchers understand the our current summer vacation results in what we all know as the “summer slide”.  That time where children forget all that they were taught.  We strive today to create fun places of learning in the summer in order to enable our children to continue to become skilled, educated and able to obtain good jobs when they mature and take their place in the community.

Some additional reading:

Gold, K. (2002). School’s in: A history of summer education in American public schools.
Peter Lang Publishing.
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/debunking-myth-summer-vacation/
http://education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons/Journals/spring2010/why-summer-learning/
http://conversableeconomist.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-myth-behind-origins-of-summer.html
http://mentalfloss.com/article/56901/why-do-students-get-summers